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Greek PM’s Ukraine visit turns into thriller 

The visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Ukraine on Wednesday had all the makings of a Hollywood thriller, as an explosion from a Russian attack on Odesa, probably with missiles, occurred less than 200 meters from where he stood with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who were at the port at that time.

According to estimates, the attack was aimed at Zelenskyy and, as the analysis of existing evidence suggests, Moscow was probably also aware of the presence of the Greek prime minister there.

Moscow confirmed the attack, but claims that it targeted a warehouse where naval drones are manufactured for the Ukrainian armed forces. 

The Greek delegation led by Mitsotakis was with the Ukrainian delegation on a customary tour of the port. The Greek delegation consisted of Minister of State Stavros Papastavrou, the head of the PM’s diplomatic office Anna Maria Boura, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexandra Papadopoulou, foreign affairs advisor Aristotelia Peloni and communications director Kira Kapi. 

The attack reportedly took place at 11.45 a.m. when the two delegations were on a tour of the historic port of Odesa.

 “Suddenly there was a piercing siren, a loud noise and then smoke,” a member of the Greek delegation told Kathimerini. The same source said that the tour was ending when the attack occurred, with the Ukrainians and Greeks heading to their cars to go to the site of the joint press conference. The Greek delegation reportedly got into the car, moving at breakneck speed through the streets of Odesa.

Kathimerini understands that the schedule was changed, as was the itinerary, which was deemed necessary for security reasons.  

After the joint statements by Mitsotakis and Zelenskyy, the Greek delegation left Ukrainian territory by road and headed on a three-hour journey for Chisinau, Moldova’s airport.

The Greek delegation returned safely to the Romanian capital of Bucharest late Wednesday afternoon.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel condemned the attack in messages. Meanwhile, Mitsotakis said Greece will continue to support Ukraine as it fights for its freedom.

“My presence here reflects the respect of the entire free world for your people and underlines Greece’s commitment to remain by your side,” Mitsotakis told Zelenskyy in his first visit to the country since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.